My Christmas Letter

Christmas Greetings in 2012!  It seems like just last month, I was penning last year’s Christmas letter. As I sat down to write this year, I was really at a loss of what to say. Another year older. Another year wiser. Another year realizing how smart my Dad was, and how much life has changed.

Christmas celebrations are pretty much the same year after year. I always think of Christmas beginning with The Hanging of the Green as we recall why we decorate with the evergreen, why we place the beautiful poinsettias in our homes and the churches, and the advent candles of Promise, Hope, Light, and Love. An added touch the past two years in my church, the Poinsettia Tree and the Colors of Christmas, made the service even more elegant.  The parades, the plays, and the cantatas are fun exciting ways of sharing the joy and love of Christ with others. Although all these events can seem frustrating because so many are trying to see how they can “work” these events into the worldly activities of parties, cookie exchanges, ornament exchanges, tree trimmings, school plays, dinners,and Santa.

Shouldn’t we try to fit the worldly activities into the activities of the “reason for the season”?

I really enjoyed the play I directed, “Christmas in Cricket County” because amidst the humor of the clash of the cousins lifestyles and the humbleness of the nativity, there was time to reflect on which character’s personality we sometimes fall guilty of ourselves.. If we’re all honest with ourselves (God is still working on each of us), at different times in our daily life we can find ourselves like all the characters to some degree. As the city cousins realized, Uncle Zeke really had them pegged (God knows each of us) and as the country cousins stated, they truly didn’t deserve all the blessings they were given.

A Christmas letter would not be complete without mentioning Missions. A “thank you” to everyone who took part in missions wherever you served the Lord in 2012. Missions is not only about doing ministry projects for others; it’s about providing the gospel & the love of Jesus Christ through song, word, prayer, and action through the daily activities of our life.

As some families are celebrating the “birth” of a beautiful child, others are experiencing the “loss” of a loved one. Sometimes we question, why? Especially, “why” during the holidays? God doesn’t mind us asking “why”, He sorta expects it I believe because we are ‘human”.  The heart aches because of  an empty chair or two empty chairs at the table this year. Christmas is shadowed by grief & sadness.  Although the Christmas Season and the Day of Our Lord’s Birth will come regardless of the sadness, we can still find ways to keep it meaningful, joyful, and “holy”  if we make the effort. We have to remember, He will carry us when we cannot walk. True joy comes from within, and although we are not happy “with” the circumstances or events in our lives, we can be happy “in” our circumstances because we know He is “with” us and our faith, joy, & the source of ALL love comes from Him, the Father of Lights.

We can fill the empty chair(s) with someone who will sit home alone this Christmas. If the big dinner isn’t possible financially or isn’t practical, prepare a nice simple meal. Perhaps each person coming can bring their favorite two dishes, not an assigned dish. I’ve never attended a “potluck” meal, to find all the dishes were the same.  You could also lavish attention on someone else’s child, individual and/or adopt a family for Christmas.

There is always a way to celebrate. So much of it is “attitude”. Our attitude reflects our altitude.  If we seek to be a blessing, we will find ourselves blessed. 

If we look around, we can see so many around us who need our help or simply, “our presence” Christmas is not about traditions, & the wrapped gifts; it’s about “love.  Christmas Caroling and visiting the nursing homes or shut-ins with songs, the reading of the Christmas story, the viewing of the recorded Christmas play on DVD, giving manicures, or simple gifts are inexpensive ways of Celebrating Christ’s Birth!  Giving to Lottie Moon, the Christmas Offering allowing missionaries to serve and share the “good news” in other parts of the world or adopting families in need, or surprising someone with a token of love expressing your gratitude, a simple note of encouragement or “paying it forward” in a fast food drive thru or restaurant and/or attending the local Christmas Eve Candle Lighting Service.

As we continue to move into the New Year, let’s not forget why we are celebrating. Remember WHO the birthday person really is! Bake HIM a cake & sing “Happy Birthday, Jesus”.  As you blow out the candles or as you travel through your community looking at lights or viewing the many luminaries, remember Christ’s Light never goes out–like the “evergreen”, His light is forever!  He is the Light of the World!  Let His love shine through you not only during the season we celebrate His birth, but throughout the coming year in your daily activities. The “True love” in the season is “the love that God gave to us, His only Son“, to bear our sins so we could have eternal life. The peace of Christ will last a life time, not for a short time as worldly things that disappear with empty results.   He lives within each of us as the Holy Spirit, as He has promised. 

2013 & All its “Mysteries” will soon be knocking on our doors; but for now, I am  living  by faith and “savoring the miracles of this Christmas season”.

“May the God of Hope, fill you with all the Joy and Peace in believing, that you may abound in HOPE by the Power of the Holy Spirit.”

My wish for you and your family in 2013:  “A New Year of Hope, Peace & Love!”

 

Treasure life,

Yvonne Deatherage, 12/2012

 

Positive Energy

Colossians 2:6-7 –‘Tis the season year round, to be His servants, serve and love one another……

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

Let’s put positive energy into things we can do to impact our world and those within our world.

“Pray and Do for others.”

We should pray for all the families & the community of the tragedy that took place at the school. The media should give the families and community time to grieve and bury their child(ren) without cameras and reporters. Pray for these families-pray for peace, comfort, and strength that’s what they need now, in the days, weeks, and years ahead.Pray for the school staff, students, and for the community. Their lives will never ever be the same.

Positive energy/actions for others by you and your children, teaching them to do unto others, would be a gift in memory of these children who are now angels, playing in heaven.

I read Misty Hardison’s post “thanking” people who came forward helping she and her daughter in the cleanup of the vandalism, theft, and invasion of personal property/space that took place in their home. Doers using positive energy to help, What the WORLD NEEDS MORE OF.

There are so many mission opportunities available that we as individuals can do and as families can do.

The Neuse Baptist Association (part of Lenoir, Wayne, Greene, & Duplin counties) is asking for oven baked cookies and brownies (in boxes or tins you do not need back) by Wednesday morning at 9am. These are being given to inmates of a local prison, along with a gift bag of toiletry items already collected and packaged by area churches. The cookies and brownies will be packaged in LaGrange @9am. If you can bake and would like to help, please inbox me privately on facebook or email me [email protected]

The GAs of Bethel Baptist Church of Jonestown, Pink Hill are collecting new and used coats for adults-men & women, children and teens through January 6th. New if you’re able to purchase a coat on sale but “good used coats” you or your family would still wear while out and about. Check your closets. Some of you may have lost weight and can’t wear the coat hanging there, or gained weight or the children have outgrown the coat from the previous year or you or your family members may just want a “new look” for the winter. There are people who need a coat to stay warm. Would you be willing to help? If so, contact me.

Would you like to start a Praying Parents Group for a school in your area? Parents, Grandparents, & Community members, who meet together once a week to covet the school in prayer. Not a bashing group–a “praying” group.

Would you be willing to start one?

It takes two people agreeing to meet together, to pray for the needs, safety, learning, etc–praying for the students and the staff. Announce it publicly and you will be surprised at who else may can join you. This can be held at a church near the school or other public building that would be opened for that purpose. Our children are a gift from God–each school in Lenoir County and in every county in the United States, needs a prayer group, praying daily for them.

I believe grades would improve, bullying would decrease, staff would find a happier/better environment to teach, supplies would be more available, and parents/students/staff would feel safer.

What begins as two can become many. You announce at the beginning prayer concerns for the school, and you pray. School staff members, teachers, and students confidentially will begin to get you specific needs to pray about. It can be 30 minutes to an hour.   Who plans to begin one?

Community Watch—neighbors watching out for neighbors. If you see a suspicious car, person, or activity in your neighborhood, call 911 and report it. People watch homes and neighborhoods before they break in. It’s not oh, look like that’s a good house this minute….They normally look for a routine–what time during an entire week or two weeks do people leave? A vehicle on the corner or side of the road(even with someone in it), could be the getaway vehicle for a break in happening a few blocks or a mile away. If it doesn’t look right, make the call.

Attend community watch meetings–in Lenoir County, there are about 6 meetings taking place monthly or every other month–Chris Cahoon can tell you the closest to you if you live in Lenoir County. Community doesn’t mean you have to live within the town or section of the county you live. Go, Listen, Learn how you can better protect your family and your home or business.

January 1st @7pm @ Pink Hill Presbyterian Church, Pink Hill Community Watch has Terry Light as the speaker. She is our Assistant District Attorney. She will be speaking on internet safety for the family. She will also touch on social media–the check in option on cellular phones–banking, etc. Come listen and see how you may be alerting others of your activities without meaning to do—or how to be sure your banking is secure. Find our ways to be sure your children or teens are safe when on the computer.

The local rest home is an awesome place to share joy and love. Singing Christmas Carols, taking a DVD of your play for them to watch, taking small nursing home gifts to the local facilities–Pink Hill Pharmacy in my area have gift bags for men and women made up already, easy for you to purchase and take–get just a few and give it to the ones you see sitting around the lobby or in the tv room. Just sit and talk with them, you don’t need an appointment to do that. Many of those at the rest home seldom have visitors on a regular basis. My experience there–before I leave, they want to know, when will we be back. They love to play bingo (take lots of quarters & gifts as prizes), sing (they love old hymns and children songs) and they all love a party—what better time to throw a party than Jesus’ Birthday?

These are just a few ways you can begin mission opportunities with your children. Discuss the project and take action. From simply cleaning out a closet to visiting a nursing home. Bake brownies and cookies tonight and make arrangements to get them to the prison ministry taking place in LaGrange.

8 More Days til Christmas—how will you spread the joy and love of Christmas in the 8 days ahead?